Taking stock.

The current situation is this:

I have 3000 copies of MEAT and Garbage Man in a warehouse in north London.

These books will be pulped if I don’t take possession of them. I can either keep them in circulation using the current distributor or I can collect them and bring them home to a storage unit. Whatever happens, I won’t let them be destroyed – I’ll be investigating my options over the next few days. They could still stay ‘on the market’ if it doesn’t cost me too much money.

Incidentally, the print runs of MEAT and Garbage Man were 10,000 and 5,000 respectively. Beautiful Books did an unbelievable job of getting an unknown horror author’s titles to booksellers in such numbers.

Published material aside, I have the following in a padlocked steel box:

Four Horror/SF novels, a huge zeitgeisty Dark Fantasy (not urban. No vampires) with mythical and ecological themes and a YA thing (doesn’t everyone now?) which is almost ready to submit. About fifty short stories, most of which are, technically, reprints if I decided to collect them, and a couple of spare novellas. My unknown stories so outweigh my published work I sometimes wonder why I keep doing it.

It’s only my life. It’s only my life. It’s not really all that important.

On that note, I was amused (and sort of gooey inside) when a couple of friends got in touch to ask if I was having a nervous breakdown. They’d read the first couple of blog posts and thought my gallows humour was a bit ‘sincere’. It isn’t. Really. I’m fine.

*slips razor blade back into packet for the moment*

Other developments:

An American indie publisher is prepared to pay me 80% of E-book sales. I know the owner a little and he strikes me as entirely genuine so I’m giving that VERY serious thought. It would mean I don’t have to worry about cover art and editing and file conversions and whatever else it’ll take to do it.

I’m also looking into costs for quality cover art in case I do decide to go the e-route on my own – the good artists are expensive, be warned. I’ve been quoted from £160 – £750 so far. Self-publishing e-books would leave the print rights available, though it might make them less attractive to mainstream houses.

A couple of ‘traditional’ publishers are looking at my work right now and I have some interesting meetings to look forward to in the next couple of weeks. Far from being depressed by the demise of Beautiful Books, I almost feel there’s everything to play for.

But perhaps that’s a common emotion among those with nothing left to lose.

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7 thoughts on “Taking stock.

  1. Ah, Joseph, I know how you feel, but you should take some small crumb of comfort from the fact that other writers (i.e me, let’s not beat around the bush) have yet to make the big time even once!
    I was gutted to hear about Beautiful Books (mainly for you if I’m honest, though also for them), but despite being stubbornly pessimistic by nature, I firmly believe in there being a reason for everything. Every story, novellette, novella I’ve had rejected/lost through a press going into administration, has gone on to be accepted by someone ultimately better.
    And I don’t think that the reason any of us carry on is just because we have to. It’s because we believe that one day it will be worth the hard slog – one day we’ll be able to make a living doing something we love above all else. If I didn’t believe that I genuinely think I’d stop. I know you’re never supposed to admit that, but otherwise it costs too much. I don’t write for the love of it; I write despite the love of it.
    I know that you’re the very opposite of pessimistic; that’s why I know you’ll be alright!
    Good luck!
    Carole x

    • Hey, Carole! Thank you for appearing and for your kind words.

      It wasn’t the big time, but it felt great while it lasted. And I agree, everything does happen for a reason even though we don’t or can’t see why at the time. I quietly do feel this is a shift for the better, even though I have no logical basis for such a notion. It’s heartening to hear you’ve similar thoughts.

      God, yes, I’d love to make a living doing this. Love is a strong word for something that I find so troublesome but even if I couldn’t make a living, I’d still write – I’d simply do it with no further expectation. That would either be a very light or a very dark space to occupy and I’m not sure I want to go there. Not making enough to live on from writing has already been costly but I, and the people closest to me, have grown from that. I totally understand pessimism; hope is the most terrifying thing of all, isn’t it?

      Anyway, I’ll be looking forward to reading more from you at any time, Carole. Do let me know how things are progressing and thanks again for bringing the good vibes.

  2. I think we should have a rally to seek out 3000 people and show them what they’ve been missing! I’ll take a second copy if I can have it signed! 😀 I can’t believe that there are 3000 potential fans out there that just haven’t had the pleasure of reading Meat…if only they knew.

    Looking forward to reading some of the steel box stories, hopefully they’ll be in print some time soon. If your published stories ever start outweighing your unknown/safe in a box stories then it’s probably a sign you’re winding down as a writer, in which case you need to get that razor blade back out of the packet.

    Good luck with the publisher meetings.

    • Thank you very much, Steve.

      Yes, I often want to stop people in the street and tell them all about my work. Usually, I restrain myself! Anyway, it’s brilliant to hear of the esteem in which you hold the book. And I’ll sign your copy any time I’m on my rounds – where are you?

      The steel box work will out one day – whether I publish them myself or someone else takes them on. I’ll keep the blades handy for when the end times are in sight…

      • In Leeds but I do a lot of work in Manchester, so next time your doing the rounds in those areas I’ll hold you to that signing 🙂

        Just be happy your steel box is full! Mine is a sad empty box itching to get a hold of all those half finished novels I have laying about unboxed.

      • If it’s any comfort, I have one unfinished novel for every two I complete. I do plan to address that, of course!

        See you in Leeds one of these days.

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